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Xbox 360 once again dominates console market

Research firm NPD says total physical sales hit $1.16 billion last month, down 6 percent compared to the same period last year.

The video game industry just can't seem to turn things around.

Research firm NPD announced yesterday that total industry sales on hardware, software, and accessories hit $1.16 billion last month, representing a 6 percent drop compared to September 2010 when industry sales reached $1.23 billion.

Although September's performance was somewhat disappointing for the industry, it was far better than August. NPD reported last month that industrywide sales in August hit just $669.9 million, representing a 23 percent decline compared to the $873.8 million the industry generated in August 2010.

On the hardware side last month, things were especially disconcerting for the industry as sales of consoles and portables dropped 9 percent to $349 million. Microsoft's Xbox 360 once again took the sales lead, tallying 438,000 units sold during the month and capturing 42 percent market share. According to Microsoft, this is the seventh-straight month that it has secured over 40 percent of the console market.

For its part, Nintendo said that it sold 240,000 Wii units in September, as well as 260,000 units of its glasses-free 3D portable, the Nintendo 3DS. The company's DS is still plugging away, selling 145,000 units last month. After hitting that tally, the portable now has 50 million unit sales over its lifetime.

Sony did not divulge unit sales for September.

The software market was the sole silver lining last month with sales jumping 3 percent year-over-year to end at $630.2 million. NPD didn't provide software unit sales, but the research firm did say that Madden NFL 12 was the top-selling game last month, followed by Gears of War 3. Dead Island came in third place.

It is worth noting, however, that NPD's figures only include physical game sales. Revenue game companies derived from digital sources, such as downloads or mobile titles, is not included in the research firm's report.